If you want to read this while listening to Juanita Ulloa sing mariachi music click here.
[Note: This started out on another thread as a humble attempt to find out where to buy marichi gear, “at a music shop or a trousers shop or the mariachi outfitters?” and quickly spiraled out of control as a grandiose “I kind of like the idea of mariachi shorts, for summer; I may start there. If it works out I might design a line of mariachi bicycle pants, for the younger crowd.” I will be watching in the direction of Norway with great interest.]
So here is everything I have been able to find out so far about mariachi gear, and shorts, in no particular order:
- The mariachi costumes first came about in Jalisco, where some cowboys were asked to perform for royalty. They decided performing in work attire was unacceptable so they adopted the style of the local nobles for the performance.
- The buttons on the sides of the mariachi pants were once used to close the pants. Old photos show a contrasting color of material showing through the gap between the buttons. Now the buttons are merely decorative.
- Some mail order sources for mariachi costumes are La Casa Del Mariachi, the Mariachi Connection, and I Love Musica .
- Mariachi suits can be decorated with greco— an appliqué that is sewed on–or with silver or gold buttons, (a set of botonadura is shown here, 60 pieces for $75) or with both. (As always, click to enlarge)
- The preferred suit color is black. If a wannabe mariachi musician goes to the plaza to try to join up with other musicians and form a group, he will want to match the other loose mariachis.
- Words for “capri pants” when worn by men: manpris, breeches, knickerbockers, knickers (but in England this means women’s underwear), courier pants, “Pantalones Pirata” or Pirate Pants (imported from Spain), climbing pants, ¾ pants, shants or bermudas (both above the knee) and highwaters. The preferred word seems to be “three-quarter pants” and the typical male who wears them is a bicycle or mountaineering athlete.
Here is the detail of the stitched leather greco on a suit purchased from a Mariachi player on the streets of Tijuana (from eBay).
Some resources for Mexican mariachis and cowboys:
- Folklórico Gallery for traditional dancing. They dance to the marichi music.
- A great web album on Picasa with real mariachis.
- La Associación National de Charros. International charro (cowboy) news from Mexico.
- Gallery of images from La Asociación National de Charros above, mostly rodeos and horses.
- Women mariachis are so popular I have given them a separate post.
So what kind of shorts–and what kind of look– can you wear the soon-to-be-discovered marichi gear with? Everything.
Emo. Punk. Bat Attack. Triple Bondage. Mini-skirt. Warrior. Goth. The Michelle Obama look.